Elswick Envoy

Remember J.F. Sebastian’s little car in Blade Runner? The one not unlike a mini airport-shuttle van conversion, which Syd Mead had remodeled and re-shaped with his trademark rhomboid angles?

I did a double-take last week, certain that I’d spotted the thing jammed into a tight Trastevere parking spot. Now, any auto buff will tell you Rome’s streets sport many a moto-carriage cute and strange, this town being the nexus of All Roads and whatnot, but this particular futu-rustic transport looked to have surreptitiously rolled out of Epcot Center back in ‘78, and been on the ‘lam since.

Actually, turns out it’s British – an ’Elswick Envoy’, to be exact. Of note, it’s accessibility-designed from the chassis up: devoid of seats and pedals, the hatchback trunk pops open for a wheelchair, while arm-height accellerator and brake controls protrude from the dash. Just load, lock, and drive – plus, you can park almost anywhere.

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